Ahh! Salaam and good evening to you, worthy friend. It’s been a couple of weeks and I still haven’t gotten over the baseball season! Earlier this week the Hall of Fame ballots were sent out with none other than the Swami’s Official Favorite Player Ever on the top of the list. (That’s Ken Griffey Jr. if you aren’t aware) This led me to ponder some of the strangest voting results in Hall of Fame history. The unwritten rules about getting 100% of the vote or who deserves to go in on the first vote are odd, but even they don’t explain some of the more baffling voting results. So to go with each of this week’s picks I will give you some of the more baffling voting results in Hall of Fame history. Without any ado…
Va Tech v. Ga Tech – Yellow Jackets 37-35 – Cy Young wasn’t voted into the Hall of Fame until his 2nd year on the ballot. He only received 49.1% of the vote in his first year on the ballot. He had 511 Wins, 749 Complete Games, Won 30 games in a season 5 times, started 50 games in a season 5 times, had 40 or more complete games 9 times, and literally was the walking Cy Young Award.
Alabama v. Mississippi St. – Crimson Tide 42-38 – Joe DiMaggio wasn’t voted into the Hall of Fame until 3rd year on the ballot (after his career). He only received 44.3% in 1953. Despite missing 3 years from 28 years to 30 years in World War II he had a 13 year career, was a 13 time All-Star, 3 time MVP, 2 time HR champion, 2 time batting champion, had a .325 career average, and was a 9 time World Champion. How did THAT take 3 years to vote in?!
LSU v. Arkansas – Tigers 38-33 – Yogi Berra wasn’t voted into the Hall of Fame until the 2nd year on the ballot. He received 67.2% of the vote in his first year. Yogi was a 15 time All-Star (15 straight no less), a 3 time MVP, a 10 time World Champion, a 14 time World Series participant, he caught the most games in MLB 8 times, and he hit .285 & had 350 HR as a catcher in an era where catchers didn’t hit.
Oregon v. Stanford – Cardinal 38-28 – Jimmie Foxx wasn’t voted into the Hall until his 6th year on the ballot. For those unaware, Foxx won the Triple-Crown, 3 MVP awards, was a 9 time All-Star, 4 time Home Run champ, and his career numbers were .325 Avg, 534 HR, 1922 RBI, 1.038 OPS.
Oklahoma v. Baylor – Bears 48-45 – Rogers Hornsby wasn’t voted into the Hall of fame until his 5th year eligible. Hornsby was a 2 time Triple-Crown Winner, a 2 time MVP, hit over .400 3 times, won 7 batting titles including 6 consecutive years, and was a 2 time Home Run Champion. In 1922, he led the league in Runs, Hits, Doubles, Home Runs, RBI, Batting, On-Base, OPS and total bases. He defines what a Hall of Fame career looks like.
Minnesota v. Iowa – Hawkeyes 23-17 – Roy Campanella was not voted into the Hall until his 7th year of eligibility. Campy’s MLB career looks short due to playing 8 years in Negro Leagues and having his career ended early by car accident. However, he played 10 seasons and in that time was a 9 time All-Star, a 3 time MVP, and threw out 57% of all base stealers in his career. The year he won the RBI title it was by outproducing Eddie Matthews, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Ralph Kiner, Stan Musial, and others. And again, Catcher was not a key offensive position unless your name was Berra or Campanella.
Oklahoma St. v. Iowa St. – Cowboys 42-20 – Harmon Killebrew was voted into the Hall of Fame in his 4th year on the ballot. Killebrew was an 11 time All-Star (playing 3 different positions), a 6 time Home Run champion, 3 time RBI champion, League MVP, and finished his career with 573 Home Runs.
Utah v. Arizona – Utes 31-24 – Lefty Grove voted into the Hall in his 3rd year of eligibility. He won an MVP (as a pitcher), was a 6 time All-Star, a 9 time ERA champion, won the pitching triple crown 2 times, had 300 wins, pitched 298 complete games, had 54 saves, and was a 7 time Strikeout king.
Nebraska v. Rutgers – Huskers 33-31 – Dale Murphy was not voted into the Hall of Fame. Murphy was a 2 time MVP, 7 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glove winner, 4 time Silver Slugger winner, had one 30-30 season, and was a 2 time Home Run king. He is the only 2 time NL MVP not in the Hall of Fame. It is very likely that coming up 2 home runs shy of 400 played a role in him missing out… which is ludicrous. He was 2nd in HR’s and tied for 1st in RBI in the National League for the entire decade of the 80’s.
Georgia v. Auburn – Tigers 28-27 – These guys all got in the Hall of Fame on their first ballot but the fact the percentage of votes they received are laughable:
- Hank Aaron – 97.8% of the vote – .305 average. 755 Home Runs. 2,297 RBI. 240 Stolen Bases. 21 time All-Star. 3 Gold Gloves. 2 Batting Titles. 1 MVP. 2.2% of the voters should have had their vote stripped.
- Babe Ruth – 95.1% of the vote – The Sultan of Swat pitched primarily from age 19-22, won an ERA title, and had 94 career wins. He then won 12 Home Run titles amassing 714 career home runs. What’s crazy? Here are his postseason numbers: 3-0, 0.87 ERA, 0.935 WHIP / .326, 15 HR, 33 RBI, 4 SB. He won 7 World Championships. Widely considered the greatest of all-time and yet 4.9% of the ballots did not have him on it.
- Willie Mays – 94.7% of the vote – .302 average. 660 Home Runs. 338 Stolen Bases. 20 time All-Star. 2 time MVP. 11 time Gold Glove winner. 1 Batting Title. Rookie of the Year. 5.3% of the voting pool…well, see my comments on Hank Aaron.
- Bob Feller – 93.8% of the vote – I could list everything, but this should do. From 1939-1946, he had the most strikeouts in baseball. What’s remarkable? From Dec 9, 1941 to Aug 22, 1945, he didn’t play a single game because he voluntarily served in the Navy despite having a service exemption!! He didn’t pitch from age 23-26 until the last month and a half of year 26. His first game back from the war (less than a week after completing his service) he pitched a complete game and struck out 12. His first full season after his military service he struck out 348 batters!
- Stan Musial – 93.2% of the vote – 20 time All-Star. 7 batting titles. 3 MVPs. Career .331 hitter. 3 time World Champion. Undoubtedly “The Man”. 6.8% of people are stupid.
- Mickey Mantle – 88.2% of the vote – Triple Crown winner. 16 time All-Star. 4 time Home Run king. 7 time World Champion. 3 time MVP. 1 batting title. 1 Gold Glove. 536 career home runs. 11.8% of people have questionable brains.
- Jackie Robinson – 77.5% of the vote – Broke the color barrier. Endured more than anyone can say. In 10 seasons: Rookie of the Year. Won 1 MVP. Won 1 batting title. 6 time All-Star. 2 time stolen base king. 6 league championships. 1 World Championship. And that doesn’t count anything he did in the Negro Leagues. Now one explanation for his voting percentage was that he told baseball writers that when considering his candidacy, they should only consider his playing ability — what his impact was on the playing field, as opposed to factoring in his other impacts on the game. That being said, I also believe race played a role in the voting percentage.
The Guru’s Take
The Guru’s excellent season rolls on (Alabama win…see what he did there?). Now that we are in the meat of the Big XII season, there are good conference games every week. Oklahoma State put the rest of the conference on notice with its shellacking of TCU (another aside – Gary Patterson taking time on game day to donate to a fund for victims of the Stillwater tragedy was classy). Now it’s time for Baylor and Oklahoma to determine who stands as the biggest impediment to the Cowboys’ undefeated season. DO NOT EXPECT A FLORIDA-VANDERBILT SCORE HERE! Even with a freshman QB taking over the reins last month, Baylor’s offense is still high-octane. On the flip side, after its inexplicable wetting of the bed against Texas, OU has scored 52+ points in four consecutive games. The key will be the Oklahoma d-line. If the Sooners are in the backfield with consistent pressure, they should come away with the win on the road. If not, Baylor is likely to outlast them. So the Guru steps out with faith in the Sooners and calls a late Baker Mayfield-to-Sterling Shepherd TD pass for the win.
OU 52, Baylor 45
James and the Swamettes
Until next time… THE SWAMI!!